Rosewater (2014)

Jon Stewart is a smart, talented man who poured his heart and soul into this movie. It seems like a shame to crap all over it, but it crapped itself on me first. I really wanted to like this movie, but it just wasn't that good. I know I must be in the minority, as it appears to have gotten generally favorable reviews elsewhere, and while I know that its box office was pretty terrible, that isn't really the whole story on if a film is good.

This film has some solid acting. Even the bit part by Jason Jones (playing himself) was very good. Everyone does a fine job with their roles - that's not the problem. The story revolves around the relationship that is established between the wrongly accused protagonist and his interrogator, and they seem to interact pretty well. As a result of the things that this movie does right, it's hard to put a finger on why I felt so detached from the characters and almost disinterested in the movie I had been looking forward to.

The pacing of this movie is way off. There is movement at times, but there is usually a whole lot of nothing going on. The fact that they wanted to humanize the jailers only served to give the audience a bit of a moral ambiguity about if these were supposed to be the bad guys. As we followed too many of their personal interactions, it became hard to even keep track of who was in charge of who, who did what, and who we were supposed to give a crap about. I know the intent was to give us characters that weren't black and white, but you can't do that to all of the characters without introducing a certain kind of malaise to the audience.

The absolute worst thing in this movie is the ham-fisted attempt to shoehorn into the story what was happening with social media. You know what? Go ahead and have people just mention it. Go ahead and have someone in a coffee shop comment to a friend. Yes, it's a stupid way to do it, but words floating around in a street are a lame way to spend your graphics budget.

Direction was not good
Story was okay
Dialogue was okay
Pacing was terrible
Acting was good

Bottom Line: First time up to bat for Jon Stewart - swing and a miss.



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